The Story Behind the WWW Hypertext 91 Demo Page and UNC and me

In 2013, we got a lot of nice coverage of my rediscovery of perhaps the earliest World Wide Web pages. In honor of Internaught Day August 23, 2016 — the 25th aniversary of Tim Berners-Lee making the WWW code publicly available, I’m reposting the story behind that oldest page here.

Fact is that those pages — Tim Berners-Lee’s Demonstration Page for Hypertext 91 and my own personal page — have been on the net almost continually since they were developed and/or modified on my NeXT cube during Tim’s visit to UNC in the late Fall of 1991 on his way to San Antonio and the ACM conference in December 1991. While the pages have moved from server to server as we upgraded, the pages mostly worked just fine even in modern web browsers without modification. True, there are HTML tags that are strange to us now: DD, DT, DL, NEXTID, and a requirement that each A link have a NAME field. (place view-source: and view-source: in Chrome to see the old school html unrendered).

But how did those pages get created and how did they end up in Chapel Hill on my NeXT in first place?

Continue reading The Story Behind the WWW Hypertext 91 Demo Page and UNC and me

Apollo Guidance Computer on ibiblio

Screenshot of AGC

I got the idea while watching the movie Apollo 13. The instant in the movie where the AGC is powered up on Earth approach is the instant when the viewer suddenly feels that survival of the astronauts has changed from “highly unlikely” to “very probable”. It gives me a chill whenever I see it. Anyhow, on watching this one day, it struck me that it was a shame nobody knew any longer how to operate the AGC—let alone write the programs for it. (As it happens, that thought was a bit premature: only 35 years had passed since the AGC software was written, thus many of the original software developers were still reasonably young. Nevertheless, the principle is correct, since very few people could use or program the AGC.)

It had been a long journey for the AGC from the original mission computer in 1970 to the movie release in 1995 to the film inspiring Ron Burkey as he viewed it in 2003. Then not long after, Ron began recreate a simulation and later a physical version of the AGC.

Along the way, Ron collected documentation, scanned and transcribed code, and built a space for collaboration and dissemination at ibiblio/apollo.

The site and collection greater than a decade in the making recently received more attention as the code was placed for download in a github repository.

But to experience the technical complexity and to work on the project yourself, you’ll want to visit Ron’s site. You might want to begin with the ”Kinder Gentler Introduction” to the AGC unless you know a bit about the period and the Apollo already.

Continue reading Apollo Guidance Computer on ibiblio

Walker Percy Project

CONTACT: Henry P. Mills, Director, The Walker Percy Project (email) (web)

Literary Website Celebrates Walker Percy Centennial (1916–2016) on May 28

The Walker Percy Project launches mission to provide access to the author’s work for all audiences.

Asheville, NC, May 23 — Walker Percy (1916–1990), the acclaimed late-20th century Louisiana novelist and philosopher, published six novels and three nonfiction books, as well as many social commentaries. His first novel, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award in 1962.

The 100th anniversary of his birth arrives Saturday, May 28, 2016, and numerous regional events are being held in honor of the Percy Centennial, notably:

  • Dedication of the “Walker Percy Serenity Circle” — featuring a life-sized sculpture of Percy — and Reading Room at the St. Tammany Parish Library in Madisonville, La.
  • Publication of the new essay collection, Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer at Fifty, by LSU Press
  • A special 3-day “Walker Percy Weekend” festival in St. Francisville, La. (June 3–5)
  • Publication of a book of previously unreleased photographs: Walker Percy: Daylight and Dark
  • The Conference on Christianity & Literature, Southeast Region, on the Walker Percy Centennial
  • The launch of The Walker Percy Project website and its expanded educational resources and services

Details about these Centennial events — and much more — are accessible on The Walker Percy Project interactive website at <>.

The Network of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (whose libraries house the “Walker Percy Papers”) hosts the online resource, although the website is not formally affiliated with the university.

The Project is officially launching its website, a non-profit educational resource, in time to coincide with the Centennial. The Project’s volunteer director Henry P. Mills says,

“The exciting aspect of the website is that it combines the best features of an encyclopedia with the ongoing activities of a conference. Visitors — from curious readers to serious scholars — can actively engage in ideas and discussions related to Walker Percy.”

As a free clearinghouse of centralized resources on the author’s work and life, the website provides visitors with opportunities for personal sharing and collaboration through discussion forums, as well as access to wide-ranging materials, including:

  • Current news on public and scholarly activities and publications related to Walker Percy
  • Remembrances and Memorials from Eudora Welty, Shelby Foote, and Robert Coles, M.D.
  • Critical essays for novice and advanced readers from Percy biographers and literary scholars
  • Multimedia, including video and photograph galleries
  • Book descriptions for books on and by Walker Percy
  • Interactive features, such as Exhibits, Quizzes, and Curated web links
  • Bibliographies and archive collections
  • Educational resources and student projects

With the tagline “Access, Community, Discovery,” The Walker Percy Project encourages active exploration into Percy’s writings, life, and thought. Through its integration with an email-based interest group (the Percy-L listserv), the website lets readers and students participate in discussions and research. Mark Bloom, President of The Walker Percy Project, offers,

“The in-depth resources I discovered on the website greatly expanded my appreciation for Percy as a writer, so much so I felt compelled to get involved to learn more about him and help the Project grow.”

The Walker Percy Project website has received recognition from influential publications such as: New Orleans Magazine, Austin American-Statesman, Texas Monthly, The Southern Quarterly, Modern Language Association, and The Southern Register. The Project is dedicated to keeping Walker Percy’s work and critical thought on the “human predicament” and his concern with our comparable “displacement in the modern world” in the mainstream.

For more information on this story, please contact Henry P. Mills, the volunteer director and editor of The Walker Percy Project, at .
Please refer to the Project’s website at <>.